Tips for case managers managing “angry” injured workers


The workcover case manager profession is littered with, hum, “conflict” over many things, even the smallest of “things” right from the start, when a worker lodges a claim for a work injury. Yet, sadly, many case managers do not know how to properly diffuse a, ahum, “tense situation”, on the contrary;  from our injured and our injured readers experience, most will push our buttons, if not over the edge and have us suffer an acute and massive nervous breakdown over the phone!

Tips for case managers managing “angry” injured workers

We must say that we’re quite appalled that workcover case managers (and insurance staff) are seemingly NOT trained in effective communications skills, and even in peoples’ skills!

More often than not they’ll act like irrational primates!

Things that INFURIATES injured workers

  • a [very] rude and unempowered case manager [or any other workcovrr insurer staffer]
  • Missing deadlines
  • Being put on hold for yonks
  • Phone lines being busy for yonks, calls not returned
  • Promises which aren’t kept
  • Faulty, misleading “letters”
  • Pushy , “harassing” case manager

For those workcover case managers and workcover insurance staffers/companies who may be reading this, before you get pissed off at us, remember that injured workers are, in fact, walking billboards, walking ads for YOUR insurance company, and for the case managers that work for you. We are your injured advocates for your work and testimonials to your terrible shortcomings. So, when someone complains (like we are doing) you should actually be grateful because we are giving you a chance to improve the “situation”.

Let’s take a look at some steps you- the case manager- could use to deal with the “angry” injured worker

1. Stay calm, please

Workcover case managers must train themselves to stay calm. Take slow and deep breaths. Please do not get emotional as well!

Keep quiet! And listen, please. If you keep on interrupting , the injured worker will assume you are not listening (again) and often feel the need to start over again, angrier this time. Patiently listen to the whole story and please be attentive.

When the injured worker is clearly finished explaining the situation, you can begin to respond.

And when it is your turn to speak, begin with agreement, please. Even if this requires really shovelling to uncover some common ground, do so. For example, let’s assume an injured worker has told you a long story with many (often valid!) accusations about the insurance staff or Independent doctors that are -in your opinion- not true. Obviously, you are not going to agree with “false” statements, but you could at least be polite and perhaps reply with: “I’m glad you brought this to my attention. I will look into this matter.”

 Using responses such as “I hear what you are saying” or “I understand” can also greatly help to calm us, so called angry injured callers.  Remember that we usually have no bloody idea what is going on or why certain (bizarre) decisions are being made on our workcover claims! Please let us vent a bit then calmly and politely explain the situation.

2. Listen and please be patient

Try not to take the demonstration of the injured worker’s understandable anger personally. A majority of the time abused, harassed, ill-treated, stressed injured sods do not know how to express “displeasure” or “dissatisfaction” pleasantly. [Tip if YOU are the angry injured worker say in a sincere, pleasant tone:“I know it may not be your fault, but I’m very upset about this situation and I hope you can help me.”]

Please, case manager, do not attempt to interrupt angry callers, or worse threatening them with “police” or just hanging up on them! Nothing more enrages us!

Be patient and let us, injured sods, at least finish talking – do not talk over us.  We often need to vent our sheer frustrations dealing with our “claim” and the manner in which it is being dealt with.  After being able to vent a bit we may be able to relax a little and work with you to resolve our ongoing, unending issue.  Please, explain to us what is going on, and what options we may have for moving forward.

Oh and please never ever say: “There’s nothing I can do.” That statement is like petrol on a camp fire. Although it may range from simply gathering facts to solving the actual problem, there’s ALWAYS something you can do.

3. Please, remain Professional at all times

 Above all remain professional. Do not get all emotional. Do not threaten us. Do not hang up at the first sign of conflict!

Remember you are in a “customer service industry”, and there is a lot of competition out there. As we said, we injured sods are walking ads!  Every phone call should be dealt with in a professional matter, no matter what!

4. Please don’t raise your voice, don’t yell and don’t scream

 Yelling, screaming, talking in a sarcastic tone or in a threatening tone is only going to irritate us, injureds, further, which will resolve nothing.  If anything, you can get in trouble with your boss/team leader.

Don’t ever forget that many injured workers suffer from nasty and painful physical injuries, and that – most importantly- they have developed secondary nasty psychological/psychiatric injuries because of the way they are being treated by people like you!

Every day aworkcovervictimsdiary hears from injured workers who have had a “nervous breakdown” on the phone with their case manager, necessitating medical treatment; everyday we hear from injured workers being threatened and even locked up in a psych hospital by people like you, for no reason other than that you have absolutely no humanity, communication or people skills!

Remember that just about all workcover insurance companies record telephone conversations (for the famous “training” purpose), and if this discussion gets pulled for review, after we put in a formal complaint against you, you (the case manager) are going to look really stupid.

5. Please try your best not to argue

Your main goal here, dear case manager, is to calm a heated conversation AND  to resolve the problem. A direct argument will usually not resolve anything.  Please explain to the injured worker what is going on (with their claim), and what you (insurance) and they can do to help.

For example, It may be that a more detailed report from their doctor is the piece of evidence you need to complete your “review” or to make your “decision” about some “benefit”, then please tell the injured worker so s/he can organise and obtain that report!.

Please, dear case manager, remember at all times, that the injured worker does not have the experience that you do in “handling claims” day in and day out, so give them so rope and try to help them instead of just arguing points or talking jargon. This means avoid talking in legal terms or in claim lingo.

 6. Empathise  and  apologise, show us you are human

 And, dear case manager, ever thought about how  you would feel if you were in the same situation?  What would you want to be said to you to make you feel better when you were the frustrated caller?

injured workers simply want to know that you understand where they are coming from!

Many of us simply want acknowledgment from you or the workcover insurer that a mistake may have been made. If true please aplogise. If not ( entirely) true, please aplogise anyway for the confusion you cause the injured worker (again).  An apology is the first step to overcoming our anger, rage, frustration etc and opening a dialogue about resolving the problem at hand.

7. Please, case manager offer us a solution to move forwards

 We, injured workers, are coming to you with questions about our workcover claims, i.e.why a certain decision was made.  Whatever the reason, please be human and explain to us what options we have for moving to the next level of resolving our claim problem(s), disputes etc. This means also please inform injured workers of their rights to appeal decisions, denied claims, rejected home help, physio, surgery etc and how they can appeal this.
A case manager  is on the phone a big part of their day, every day. Conflict will arise and is unavoidable in the workcover claim world.  But you have to be armed with the proper way to handle yourself on the phone.  Implement the tips above, and hopefully you will be known around as a decent and human case manager.


[With thanks to workcovervictim for the bulk of the article/tips]


16 Responses to “Tips for case managers managing “angry” injured workers”

  1. How about adding to the list “NOT LYING”. It staggers me how often my case manager lies. The lies are so pointless and stupid and more often and than not are they are simply to cover up that the case manager is a lazy git that has not done her job. Her lies are as shallow as she is.

    Angela Morgan: “They make Foi Requests to the Police, to release your Police record without your knowledge or written consent”….. I think someone has been pulling your leg or engaging in illegal conduct. Its is simply NOT possible to access criminal records via a FOI request. Likewise, there is NO LEGAL means that a claim manager can get access your criminal record. Having said that, many private investigators contact their copper mates and get them to illegally leak the information. Given its a criminal offence for a police officer to release such information, if you genuinely have evidence that your claims manager has obtained your criminal records, I would be immediately lodging a complaint with the Ombudsman who will ascertain how the claims manager got hold of the information /came to be in possession of the information; and you should also lodge a complaint with the police Ethical Dept who can very quickly ascertained who accessed your records; they will take action against the “leaker”. A claims manager improperly obtaining your criminal records is a serious matter so your should be lodging complaints.

  2. And just because we may have psychiatric injuries, it doesn’t mean you should speaaak….realllllly….slowlllly to us on the phone, or send us letters to explain the meaning of common words!

  3. I have had disgusting case managers, reasonable case managers and rotating case managers (8 in 2 years), none of them understood the legislation, so it is imperative for all injured workers to know your state legislation before you even speak to them. As far as NSW is concerned, the O Farrell government amended the legislation, it  did not get rid of the original legislation, this is a very important point. What is happening now is that all parties seem fixated upon the amendments and have forgotten the original legislation. In fact the amendments have effectively destroyed the intent of the original legislation and that is the basis for a high court challenge. If single parents can take their issue of losing $100 per week to the UN and succeed, then why can’t we take an even more draconian act to the UN (try losing over $300 per week plus medical care). Unfortunately the average dummy voter thinks that workers compensation is paid for by taxes and the media pushes this falsehood relentlessly. We need to make every one we meet aware of this garbage. This site helps enormously but more is needed, every injured worker must become involved, fight back. Ring your local member, ring Unions NSW, contact the Law Society, contact all political parties. This fight will never be over until there is some sort of justice. And as far as your case manager is concerned, let them know that they wont have a job if they keep getting rid of us.

  4. I had 4 case mangers Im not sure where they went Im hoping they left because of the morals

  5. They just get promoted to savious spirits by Workcover or should I say the NSW government

  6. Ever wondered where case managers go? (before they die*)

    • Is it possible they come to their senses, simply realising they’re not helping injured workers at all and leave?
    • Are they shipped off to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and recycled into Oompa Loompa’s (and I mean this for the real dudds)?
    • Are they sent down a chute to a laundry brain wash and dispatched into the world again with new hope?
    • (This is the scariest of thoughts) Are they promoted?
    • Do they continue working in the field hoping they’ll become the WorkCover Minister?
    • Do they run off to a monastery or vow they’ll do voluntary work to repent their sins for the rest of their lives?
    • Do they reform and go back to study law so they can represent injured Australian workers?
    • Do they transition into more lucrative jobs (see picture?). Perhaps the SM version?
    • Start work in Indonesian cattle slaughter houses?
    • Do they end up filing  a workcover claim for loss of their voice/hoarseness from yelling?
    • Do they end up filing a workcover claim for repetitive strain injuries (repeatedly yelling, phoning, writing the same denial letter over and over again)?
    • Do they file a workcover claim for mental injuries?
    • After they file a workcover claim, do they get sacked, like we do?
    • Do they commit suicide?
    • Do they become serial killers?
    • …..

    * we added this! – after they die, we have no doubt they go to hell in a hand basket

    workcovervictim3 March 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm
  7. Wiro, workcover ,wc commission ,acic all as useless as a tit on a bull . our politicians are the gutless one that helped put all this in place they can all go and fuck emselves every day the insurers coffers fill and they don’t give a fuck

    johnny rotten March 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm
    • Insurance companies employ the shop assistant or call centre operator as case manager. They are cheap but still tell your doctor and specialist whether they approve your surgery. Disgusting. Is this what the NSW government is doing?

  8. Case Mangers are the lowest form of human beings.The injured workers General Practitioner is terrified of them, because they threaten to subpoena the Doctors to court. Unions should have a talk to Workcover to try and resolve these issues.They make Foi Requests to the Police, to release your Police record without your knowledge or written consent. They have more power over a injured wirkers, mind and soul. They sit there on their well polished rear ends, (some  very huge arses) over exercising their AUTHORITY while having great pleasure at making injured workers lives as misserible as can be. Shame on you case managers, shame on you. Saying they put a cheque in the post for you say $1,000.00 then only sending $10.00 or $20.00, th3en saying the junior clerek made an error. When case mangers go on Workcover they work the system, use and abuse it because they know every trick in the book.. They help their families to rort the system, because they know how. Just how many people have taken their lives, because of the undue pressure put on them and their families and Workcover does not give a dam.  Why are the rich so money hungry that they steal from the injured workers, what a sad state of affairs. Workcover should be abolished.  Good luck everyone and stay strong.

    Angela Morgan March 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm
    • most case managers are people just out of school and the most seniors are just  people off the street raised by the insurance companies. Workcover should  make it mandatory for these case managers to have degrees. it is disgusting that Insurance companies are given millions of dollars by workcover to run the show and they employ cheap labor so that questions are never asked.


  9. Yes the govermment not just  O,Farrell  ,This government . This is how they will bring in money to the defer set  e.g.  2.17 million a lone from injured workers alone in NSW, They have to go on centre link as of feb this year ,  , This is where this government who want to be voted in a gain , will find the money , off the people   , injured , disabled,and sick .  They allow insurances companies to do this to the injured      worker ,

  10. I find it incredible that Injured workers and their solicitors are accepting the recent changes to Workcover as legitimate. Do you lot  realize that all you payments will cease in dec 2013?

    Insurace company are busy transitioning all the +3 Years old claims out of the door.

    You will have to go to Centrelink instead.

    What’s the point of employers paying premiums to Insurance company if the end result is for the injured worker to get benefits from  Centrelink and therefore on taxpayers’ back?

    It is disgusting that nobody is raising this issue with their MPs.

    Insurance companies supported by Workcover keep getting richer and richer and taxpayers will support everybody on Centrelink. Well done O’Farrell and Workcover.

    • NSW injured workers with concerns or complaints about their claims or how their claims are being managed can now contact WIRO (WorkCover Independent Review Office). We urge all injured workers who feel their claims have been mismanaged to contact WIRO and voice your concerns.

      Also see workcover NSW page for updates, petitions etc

      workcovervictim3 March 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm
      • WIRO will probably  not do anything as the case manager’s decisions will not be reversed.

        If the case goes to the supreme court, there may be some justice but it is the njured worker who has to pay for the legal costs of both parties evn if they win. This is another new workcover’s innovation. The NSW Governemt , via Workcover should be ashmed of kicking Injured workers when they are already down.


    • So what options are there
      I agree with carol , nothing appears to be happening
      In defense of injures workers who are about to lose
      Their supplements and or income support.